Waiting around for Game of Thrones is one of the least enjoyable TV-related activities that one can go through, so there is a palpable sense of relief now that Season 6 is almost here. But that relief could be diluted with the somewhat awful knowledge that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are currently thinking about chopping down the episode count for the show’s remaining seasons. Meaning that wait would last even longer. Something tells me that son of a bitch Ramsay Bolton is behind this.

This wouldn’t just be a small dip from ten to nine episodes a season, either. Here, Benioff shows that they’re thinking of it from the angle of “how much story do we have left?”
I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes after this season. We’re heading into the final lap. That’s the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that’s what we’re looking at.

What the what? Longtime fans have been not-secretly hoping Game of Thrones would last forever, merely accepting that if previously acknowledged plans of ending the show after Season 8 were to come to fruition, that at least two more seasons were on the horizon. But now it looks like those final two seasons would only be shadow babies of their former selves. According to Variety, it’s thought that Season 7 would get seven episodes, while Season 8 would send the show out on just six episodes. If ten episodes doesn’t feel like enough of a yearly duty with this show, then how can we possibly only watch six episodes?

Admittedly, I’m just thinking about this from a viewer’s standpoint. It makes a whole lot of sense once the tables are turned and it’s looked at from their side. For one, there’s only a limited amount of source material left, and the show can’t exactly wait on author George R.R. Martin to wrap things up on his own time. Second, the size and scale of Game of Thrones at this point is so epic because of how much time and money and effort go into it, so Benioff and Weiss say they need to pare down the episode count in order to give the episodes that are there the same kind of detailed approach. They can’t keep up the same pace with more ten-episode seasons.

As well, by the time Seasons 7 and 8 get here, who knows if there will be any characters left to fill the narrative? Death waits for no one in Westeros, and the rest of the story is bound to take more lives than it leaves behind. (And hopefully doesn’t give us any new lives thanks to gross couplings.)

HBO’s Michael Lombardo also stressed that nothing about this episode decrease is official, and that nothing more than conversations are happening. But if anyone is in position to bow down and accept anything that the Game of Thrones team has to give, it’s HBO.

Game of Thrones will finally kick off Season 6 on HBO on Sunday, April 24, at 9 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is premiering over the next few months, check out our summer TV schedule.

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